Domino's sued again for allegedly paying workers less than minimum wage

A History of the Minimum Wage
A History of the Minimum Wage

The cheap pies at Domino's come at "a steep price for its workers," according to yet another lawsuit against the pizza-delivery industry. Riad Kucher, who worked at five Domino's locations between 2014 and 2016, is suing the pizza chain for what he asserts are "systemic wage violations." His lawsuit, filed by the employment-litigation firm Wigdor, alleges he and hundreds of fellow employees weren't paid proper wages, and were forced to work more than 20 hours per week off the clock, bringing their hourly pay to sub-minimum wage. He adds that when he started asking questions about all these unpaid wages, his boss simply fired him.

What makes the situation worse, Kucher says, is that New York State has fined Domino's for wage violations multiple times already. A 2014 investigation resulted in a $450,000 penalty against 23 locations. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman described it as a pattern of "illegally chiseling at the pay of minimum-wage workers." One year later, another 29 New York locations paid a $970,000 settlement for the exact same thing. Schneiderman appealed directly to Domino's executives this time, saying, "My message for Domino's CEO Patrick Doyle is this: To protect the Domino's brand, protect the basic rights of the people who wear the Domino's uniform, who make and deliver your pizzas."

New York's Papa John's franchisees have also been repeatedly sued for labor violations, suggesting an industry-wide problem. Kucher's lawsuit lists another half-dozen cases where Domino's franchisees have run afoul of the law since 2013, like illegally canning workers who complained about underpayment. The suit argues that Domino's corporate office knows exactly what's up by now, and that these fines aren't proving "a sufficient deterrent to prevent continued wage violations." It goes on to say, "The time has come for Domino's — on a corporate level — to take full ownership and responsibility for the repetitive and blatant unlawful conduct of its franchisees." The company didn't respond to a request for comment.

Related: Did you know the founder of Domino's also founded a university and town in Florida?